Last month it looked like The Florida Project‘s Willem Dafoe had the Best Supporting Actor race all sewn up. Starting with the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and into early January, Dafoe’s performance as a harried motel manager couldn’t stop racking up wins. He took at least 13 trophies from the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Chicago Film Critics Association, the Toronto Film Critics Association, the Indiewire Critics poll blah blah. Okay, enough already, he’s got it.
(l.) Florida Project‘s Willem Dafoe; (r.) Three Billboards‘ Sam Rockwell.
And then five days ago Dafoe suddenly lost…what happened? Sam Rockwell‘s performance as a none-too-bright local cop in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri took the Best Supporting Actor prize at the Golden Globe awards, and out of the blue Dafoe’s mojo was no more. Last night Rockwell won again at the Critics Choice awards, and now people are wondering if Dafoe was strictly a finicky critics favorite but Rockwell is more of a rank-and-file industry guy. They’ve both been nominated for a SAG award in this category; we’ll see how this shakes out on 1.21.
Could Dafoe be the new Bob Hoskins? In late 1986 the likelihood of Hoskins winning the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as a lovesick chauffeur in Neil Jordan‘s Mona Lisa seemed guaranteed. After winning the Best Actor prize at the ’86 Cannes Film Festival, Hoskins — like Dafoe — won the same award from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics. And then he won the Best Actor BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe…how could Hoskins lose?
And then along came Paul Newman, flying high with an enjoyable performance as former pool shark Eddie Felson in Martin Scorsese‘s The Color of Money. Newman flew in and stole Hoskins’ Best Actor Oscar. He flew in like a bird and fucking stole it.